Wow, I really, REALLY loved this race.
And I know, I’m fairy easy to please when it comes to races. But seriously, this is my new favorite local half! Very organized, great runner communication, a pretty PR-friendly course with rolling hills that takes you through downtown Frederick and surrounding developments, and as usual a fun after party.
(There was that bugger of a hill near the end, but more on that later.)
As mentioned in my Twilight 5k recap, my goal for this race was a killer PR for 2016’s Dopey Challenge. I’m once again running the WDW half and full with Ginny, (can’t wait!) and I had a very specific time in mind:
Because of this ambitious goal, I was the poster child for proper pre-race care by staying hydrated, eating well, lining up my outfit early, (this green tank makes me feel especially kick-ass for some reason,) charging everything that needed charging, packing my belt, and going to bed early. Even with all my efforts, though, I made mistakes. As usual.
Mistake #1: I forgot to eat breakfast. Argh. Bob even picked up these beautiful bagels for me, but nope, totally forgot them. (He said they were delicious.) Thank heaven for 7-11. I stopped to grab two Nature Valley Granola Bars, water, and this god-awful protein bar I tossed after one bite. Problem solved.
Mistake #2: Shoulda left sooner! Traffic was backed up all the way to Route 70. Oy. Talk about panic. I made it time but you can bet your sweet tush that the next time I do this race, I’m leaving thirty minutes earlier.
It was rather chilly that morning, so I was happy to have a throwaway jacket. Once there, I downed a Gu, tried to … you know, rhymes with Gu, and found the 02:00 pace group which was led by some fun guys who were very encouraging and enthusiastic. I was determined to keep up with them, no matter what it took.
Sub 02:00. Sub 02:00.
After the Star Spangled Banner, we were off! It was rather congested at the start and I worried about losing my 02:00 guys after they handed off their sign, but once we got into downtown Frederick, folks spread out.
After the first mile, I found myself pulling ahead a little. And remember that thing I tried to do before the race that starts with a P and ends with oooo, where’s-the-loo? Yeah. There was some concern. So my new strategy was to run ahead of the pacers enough to bank emergency port-o time and still stay under 02:00. Thanks to the wristband I got at the expo, it’d be easy to track.
The first part of the course took us through downtown Frederick. Very gorgeous. And it’s always sweet when spectators cheer you on! I loved the priests standing in front of a church with their congregation, blessing runners as they passed. It filled my heart with joy … and made me grateful to be running on such a beautiful morning with other kindred spirits.
We then ran through neighborhood with cheering kids handing out snacks. Aw! I wanted to get a picture of an American flag hanging over the street from a fire truck ladder, but I was too far in run, run, PR mode. There were also some awesome seniors, toasting everyone with their Sunday morning mimosa.
For the most part, I stayed under or right around 9:00 for each mile. As for the hills, they were nice and rolling, but I’ve read in other recaps about the dreaded monster at Mile 12. But surely they were overreacting, right?
Wrong. They weren’t.
That hill was a bugger, but being so close to the end motivated me to keep chugging. So did the gal in front of me who had something really inspirational on the back of her shirt … can’t remember what it was, but trust me. It was good.
Before long, we reached the grandstand and I could hear the announcers! I had just enough juice left for that half lap on the track to the finish. My time?
Oh my gosh. I was so flipping happy.
And exhausted – had there been one more mile, things would have gotten ugly, gotta tell you. So yes, I was doing some serious fist pump action at the finish line! And it felt great getting my gorgeous half medal and the cute Nut Job Challenge one!
I was also very grateful for the wall separating the chute from the after party. It was a great shady place to stretch out, take a breath, and recover. Since I was by myself, I took my sweet ole’ time stretching and reviewing my split times.
- Mile 1: 08:40
- Mile 2: 08:59
- Mile 3: 08:51
- Mile 4: 08:50
- Mile 5: 09:01
- Mile 6: 08:50
- Mile 7: 08:57
- Mile 8: 09:04
- Mile 9: 08:45
- Mile 10: 08:58
- Mile 11: 09:09
- Mile 12: 08:56
- Mile 13: 08:40
Once I was cooled down and ready to move, I went over to the after party area where they had a band playing and a huge line for the free beers for runners. I have to admit … I was missing Bob at this point and feeling a little lonely. Jackey, (my Goofy partner-in-crime,) was running Broad Street in Philadelphia that morning with her friend, Tim. Since she reads texts during races, I sent her this picture with a “missing you” message.
A few minutes later, I got a Face Time call from them! We had ourselves a nice chat with her giving me a view of Philadelphia, (ain’t technology grand?) and afterwards, I talked with a fellow at my table about running. Life is good.
I ended up hanging around for quite some time, watching runners come in, being in awe over their tenacity, and catching up on Facebook with my running group. On the way home, I decided to celebrate my new PR with something grossly fattening.
7-11 taquitos? No, I’m saving that binge for after the Baltimore Marathon.
McDonald’s? No, too easy.
Quickfire Japanese Hibachi? Oh yeah, now you’re talking.
Problem is … when I fall off the wagon, I fall hard. Like, real hard. Me after eating the entire thing:
But good grief, it was worth it!
All in all, I really enjoyed myself at the Frederick Running Festival! Fantastic race, one that I’ll be sad to miss in 2016 because I’m running the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. But Disneyland will be quite the consolation. 😉
Thanks for reading my recap!